Music News 1/30/2020


Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, THE MUSIC OF WAYNE SHORTER (Blue Engine, 2 CDs, $17.98) – Wayne Shorter’s compositions—stretching from his time in Art Blakey’s Messengers, through Miles Davis’s 1960s Quintet, then Weather Report, and on to his long solo career—have now become part of the jazz canon. In three concerts in 2015, members of the JLCO wrote bold new arrangements of Shorter tunes, with Wayne Shorter himself as guest. Classic tunes include “Armageddon,” “Yes or No,” “Endangered Species,” and “Teru.”

NOTE: JLCO will perform at the Kennedy Center on Thursday, May 21, in a program called Jazz Ambassadors: The Music of Duke, Dizzy, Brubeck, and Goodman.

The Westerlies, WHEREIN LIES THE GOOD (Westerlies, $15.98) – The Westerlies, a brass quartet featuring two trumpets and two trombones, hail from Seattle, and are now settled in Brooklyn. They have collaborated with trumpeter Dave Douglas, singer Theo Bleckmann, and the group, Fleet Foxes. On their new album (featuring their new trumpeter, Chloe Rowlands), they mix originals with arrangements of songs from a wide range of artists. There is a suite of five songs from the Golden Gate Quartet’s powerful recordings from 1937-38, tunes by Judee Sill, Arthur Russell, Charles Ives, Robin Holcomb, plus a Shape Note/Sacred Harp hymn. Brass playing at its most creative...

NOTE: The Westerlies will perform as part of the Dumbarton Concerts series on Saturday, March 28.


HANDEL: AGRIPPINA (Erato, 3 CDs, $24.98) – The cast is led by mezzo Joyce DiDonato, soprano Elsa Benoit, bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, and countertenors Franco Fagioli, Jakub Jozef Orlinski, and Carlo Vistoli.

Maxim Emelyanychev conducts the ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro.

Kate Lindsey, ARIANNA (Alpha, $19.99) – In the Greek myth, Ariadne (Arianna) is abandoned on the island of Naxos after helping Theseus kill the Minotaur by giving him a ball of thread so that he could find his way back through the labyrinth. Mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey (accompanied by Arcangelo, led by Jonathan Cohen) assembled arias from three works—by Alessandro Scarlatti, Handel (both written in 1707), and Haydn (1789)—inspired by this mythical story.

NOTE: Both Joyce DiDonato and Kate Lindsey are singing in a new production of Agrippina at the Met in performances from February 6 to March 7.

Alexandre Tharaud, CONTEMPORARY CONCERTOS: Abrahamsen/Pesson/Strasnoy (Erato, $18.98) – Three new piano concertos written for Tharaud, and each with a different orchestra. On Hans Abrahamsen’s Left, Alone (for left hand and orchestra), Yannick Nezet-Séguin conducts the Rotterdam Philharmonc Orchestra. On Gerard Pesson’s Future is a Faded Song, Tito Ceccherini conducts the Frankfurt Raido Symphony. Oscar Strasnoy’s Kuleshv for piano and chamber orchestra features Les Violons du Roy, conducted by Mathieu Lussier.

Gramophone Magazine’s Recording of the Month

BERLIOZ: SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE (Harmonia Mundi, $19.98) – François-Xavier Roth and his period-instrument ensemble, Les Siècles, bring this “vividly characterful and richly detailed account.”